Mental and behavioural disorders account for 12% of the global burden of disease. The WHO, in it
has drawn attention to the fact that of the
nearly 45 crore estimated to be suffering from mental and behavioural disorders globally, ‘only a small minority’ are adequately cared for. The spending in terms of the country’s mental health budget does not exceed 1% of the total health expenditure. The global prevalence of mental and behavioural disorders among the adult population is estimated to be 10% and contributed to four of the ten leading causes of disability, with one in four families suffering the burden. Depression, anxiety and alcohol use were the commonest disorders in a primary care setting, contributing to nearly 20% of the caseload. It is estimated that by 2020, 15% of the disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) lost would be due
to mental and behavioural disorders, up from 10% in 1990 and 12% in 2000 (for details about disability-adjusted lifeyears [DALYs], please visithttp://www.worldbank.org/html/extdr/hnp/hddflash/workp/wp_00068.html). The lifetime prevalence of developing one or more mental and behavioural disorders is estimated to be 25%. At the global level, considering the years lived with disability, unipolar depression stands out prominently. Putting together all neuropsychiatric conditions, the proportional contribution to the total years lived with disability was 23.7% (males: 24.2%, females: 24.9%). The burden is 40% if the most productive age group (15–44 years) is considered (WHO 2001). The poor, the homeless, the unemployed and persons with low education are at higher risk (Francisco 2004). Three areas of concern have been identified: (i) the real burden of mental and behavioural disorders, (ii) the human, social and economic costs of these, and (iii) the need for dismantling barriers in the provision of adequate services (WHO 2001).